Useful study companions (i.e. French, Grammar etc)?
I'm beginning to see that the main challenge of learning French is the grammar. I was never taught grammar (English) in school and so feel this is a bar to me (I feel its difficult learning about French "conjugation" or tenses when I haven't even learned these in my native language). I feel whilst I'm busy learning French vocabularly I should revise my English grammar, then begin the French later on.
Can anyone recommend any good English (or French for later) books/website/software for learning grammar? Preferably software (something engaging) as I find textbooks on such heavy subjects very unappetizing (I already have "Collins Improve Your Grammar" and "My Grammar and I"; both going right over my head and now sitting on the shelf gathering dust!).
Also, are there any resources you would recommend alongside Duolingo to create a more holistic learning experience.
Merci beaucoup mes amis.
I suspect that if you proceed that way, you will enormously improve your English, but not your French because French grammar is indeed a challenge per se, having very little in common with English.
Bonne chance !
I was thinking more the words (e.g. what a "adverb" is) or the general grammar concepts, as I understand the specific rules are very different between the languages. For example, I only recently learned what an "article" is. I reiterate I have not had any grammar education, quite terrible no? Of course I use articles in my native language, but have never been taught about their role and/or purpose, and would never have been able to group the articles together.
Without this sort of basic grammar knowledge I find the new stuff overwhelming. Even knowing that "le", "la, "une", "un", "de", "des", "les" are all articles really helps as it allows them to be mentally grouped together, giving a focus to the learning and making it more manageable. I understand that in both English and French the grammar rules often rely heavily on correct "sentence structure" (the placement of nouns, verbs, subject, object, adjectives etc). I was never actually taught this in school (only learning through osmosis/reading), which is why I feel I need to learn these basics in English first.
Browsing the Net should help you find free resources, like http://french.about.com/od/grammar/French_Grammar.htm if you browse the Discussion section of this Duolingo site, you will often find references proposed by other learners or by Remy, our expert.